Thoughts on… Being taken for a mug

20Mar10

How stupid do some magazine publishers think consumers are?

Once every three months or so I get a call from someone in the sales team at a local free magazine.

“Mr Cobb,” they say, “We have an amazing, one-off promotion that we know your business won’t want to miss out on.”

The premise of what they are droning on about is this: they send someone over to write a review of my restaurant, but in return we are expected to buy an advert in the same issue of the magazine.

My problem is this – because I’m placing an ad, they guarantee that they won’t write anything bad about my restaurant.

On the surface you might think this is a great idea, but it’s actually a really BAD idea. It means we lose our integrity, and it makes the readers of the magazine out to be stupid.

Do these publishers really think that if their readers see a glowing review of a local business with an advert alongside it, they are going to fall for it? Well they’re not. Everybody knows this trick and no one falls for it any more.

These so-called sales executives should be locked up for wasting everyone’s time, energy and resources. People want to read honest reviews. The reason A.A. Gill’s restaurant reviews in The Times are so popular is because of the gulf between the places he loves and the places he hates.

You can’t engineer success through lies. I’d rather we had an honest, bad review than a made-up, flattering, paid-for one.

So I do the most constructive thing with the 400 or so copies of this magazine that we get delivered to our restaurant every month. I put them straight in the recycling box the moment they arrive.

I’m saying no to this kind of economically driven propaganda, just like I’ll be saying no to that sales rep, if they ever ring again.

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One Response to “Thoughts on… Being taken for a mug”

  1. 1 Cleo

    Dad! Did you REALLY have to publish that? I don’t know what the online acronym is for being a very grossed out & screwing my face in disgust, but that’s what I’m doing.


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